Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Co Antrim visitor attractions to be investigated for ghostly goings-on
Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have approved requests to search for paranormal activity at two visitor attractions.
The borough council’s Community Planning Committee has agreed to allow investigations to be carried out at Sentry Hill, a Victorian farmhouse, now a council property, built in 1835, in Carnmoney and at Clotworthy House in Antrim.
A paranormal group which carried out a ghost hunt at Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey in 2021 is seeking permission to carry out a similar investigation at Sentry Hill.
County Antrim Paranormal Research Association (CAPRA) has indicated its investigation at Clotworthy House would take place during one evening and would involve the use of equipment which detects temperature anomalies.
CAPRA has reported it has investigated paranormal activity at other historic buildings including the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
Clotworthy House, an arts centre and former stable block and coach house in Antrim Castle Gardens, was built in 1843 by the tenth Viscount Massereene.
Speaking at the meeting on Monday evening, Macedon DUP Councillor Victor Robinson moved the recommendation to approve the requests seconded by Macedon DUP Cllr Mark Cooper BEM.
Macedon Alliance Cllr Billy Webb MBE questioned the impact it would have in relation to usage of the buildings.
“I think this is a nonsense but if something is identified, could it have an impact on our buildings if something is detected?”
Simon Goldrick, head of arts culture, tourism and events, commented: “You could see it positively or negatively.”
He indicated claims of ghosts purported to walk the corridors of the Grand Opera House increased visitor numbers.
Cllr Webb quipped: “At least members are entering into the spirit of things.”
Glengormley DUP Cllr Alison Bennington asked for the results of the previous paranormal investigation at Mossley Mill.
In 2017, the council granted permission to Ballyclare Paranormal Society to carry out a probe into any paranormal activity at Ballyclare Town Hall.
In 2011, Mossley Mill attracted the attention of North Belfast Paranormal Research Group which approached Newtownabbey Borough Council for night-time access to the building and grounds.